Friday, October 30, 2015

A Taste of Africa: AKUkBUk: Post by Michael Stanley

Today I welcome back Michael Stanley. Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both are retired professors who have worked in academia and business. Sears is a mathematician, specializing in geological remote sensing. Trollip is an educational psychologist, specializing in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and a pilot. They were both born in South Africa. They have been on a number of flying safaris to Botswana and Zimbabwe, where it was always exciting to buzz a dirt airstrip to shoo the elephants off. They have had many adventures on these trips including tracking lions at night, fighting bush fires on the Savuti plains in northern Botswana, being charged by an elephant, and having their plane’s door pop open over the Kalahari, scattering navigation maps over the desert.. These trips have fed their love both for the bush, and for Botswana. It was on one of these trips that the idea surfaced for a novel set in Botswana. Their books include Deadly Harvest, Death of the Mantis, Goodluck Tinubu (A Deadly Trade) and A Carrion Death.

Michael and Stanley:

Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu is the main character of our detective series that is set in the land-locked country of Botswana in Southern Africa.

Kubu is a large man with a large appetite. His nickname “Kubu” means hippopotamus in the local language, so you get the general idea. He enjoys food and wine and is often found frequenting Gaborone’s eating establishments. If it comes to a choice of quantity or quality, Kubu always chooses quality – as long as the quantity is sufficient!

Kubu is so big that his wife, Joy, is always trying to put him on a diet. Kubu often eats the salad or whatever she gives him, then sneaks out for what he deems a real meal – hamburger, steak, or whatever. Usually with his favorite daytime drink, a steelworks, or a glass of wine, if he can afford it, in the evening.
The food in his hometown, Gaborone, is reasonably eclectic for a small city, with fine Portuguese and Brasilian fare, as well as delicious Botswana steaks. Of course, there is fast food, which Kubu disdains, and a variety of ordinary restaurants with normal fare.

Kubu is particularly fond of African food or, at least, food that has become known as African. One of his favorites is bobotie – a lightly-curried ground-lamb (or beef) casserole containing fruit, such as raisins, grated apple, or apricots. Its origins are from the Malayan slaves brought to Cape Town by the Dutch in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Even if you do not normally like curries, you will enjoy this delicious dish.

2 pounds (900 gms) ground lamb or beef
1 slice bread
3 cups (700 mls) milk
4 eggs
1 medium yellow or white onion chopped
1 – 2 tablespoons (15 – 30 gms) curry powder
1 tablespoon (15 gms) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 mls) salt
½ teaspoon (2.5 mls) ground pepper
¼ cup (60 mls) lemon juice
1 tart apple grated
1 cup (225 gms) seedless raisins
½ cup (125 gms) slivered almonds
Several bay leaves

• Put the bread into a bowl containing all the milk. Let stand.

• Lightly brown the meat in a skillet, breaking up any chunks. Transfer to a large container with a slotted spoon.

• Cook the onion in the remaining fat in the skillet until translucent. Don’t burn!

• Add the curry powder, salt, sugar, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour the mixture over the meat.

• Take the bread out of the milk and squeeze out the milk back into the bowl. Put the bread with the meat.

• Add raisins, almonds, apple, and 2 eggs to the meat. Combine. (If you use your hands to do this, it feels great and you can lick your fingers afterwards!)

• Pack the mixture into a casserole dish.

• Combine the remaining two eggs with the milk and pour over meat.

• Push a few bay leaves into the meat.

• Cook for 45 minutes at 300° F (150° C).

It is served over yellow rice – white rice with a touch of turmeric and a handful of raisins – with mango chutney on the side. Leftovers are great hot or cold. Kubu likes to put them in pita bread with sour cream or have them as a filling in an omelet. Yummy.
We have now pulled together a number of Kubu’s favourite recipes in a cookbook, titled A Taste of Africa. The idea for the cookbook and the name KUkBUk came from one of our readers, Vincent Moureau, in Belgium. We love the name, and thank him for coming up with such a wonderfully bad pun!

Now you can enjoy Kubu’s favorite food 


Help alleviate the book famine in Africa 

The KUkBUk is available at Createspace or at Amazon in the States and Europe. The price is about $5.00 depending where you are.

We will donate all proceeds to the wonderful Books for Africa charity (, based in St. Paul, MN. Last year alone, it sent over two million books and hundreds of computers to schools, universities, and libraries throughout Africa. 

KUkBUks also make great stocking stuffers or little gifts to friends.


Vallery Feldman said...

Will have to think about to whom I will give this. Love the title.

Mary Adler said...

I am a great fan of Kubu and look forward to making this dish and others I may find in his KukBuk. Thank you for creating him.

Susan C Shea said...

This is a fine idea and a tasty-sounding one too. I do relish (ugh) the series and the setting, and have enjoyed talking with you both at BCon.